By Mukaila Akodu, Lagos
Men of Tin-Can Island Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) have confiscated no fewer than 1,100 rifles said to have been illegally imported into the country from Turkey under false declaration.
Addressing newsmen in Lagos on Monday, the Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS,), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), said the seizure was the third interception of ammunition at Lagos ports within nine months.
“As you may already be aware, the two previous cases are 661 Pump Action Rifles from Apapa Command and 440 rifles from this command. The 20ft container No GESU2555208 was intercepted on September 7 during examination, while the Bill of Lading falsely indicated wash hand basins and water closets.” Ali said.
On the fate of the officers on duty at the time of importing the consignment, Ali said, “An officer of the service alleged to have authorised the cutting of the seal and the terminal clerk have been arrested and are undergoing investigation.
“NCS under my leadership will do all possible to fish out all those remotely connected with this devilish importation. We shall bring them to justice,” Ali said.
Ali added that the service would meet with the World Customs Organisation (WCO) and Foreign Affairs Ministry to stop illegal importation of ammunition.
He said that the service would not only pursue the agents but would also go after the shippers and terminal operators who took custody of the consignments just as he commended operatives of the Customs Intelligence Unit (CIU) for discovering the rifles in spite of the false declaration.
He also applauded the sister agencies for their collaboration with the NCS and urged the media to continue to disseminate information on the dangers of smuggling across borders.
Ali said that the present NCS management would continue to re-position and fine-tune operational strategies of the service in line with the Federal Government’s policies toward a new and better way of serving Nigerians.